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Nicole Gibson bio picture

Nicole Gibson

Welcome to the Nicole Gibson Photography blog! Years ago, Nicole became captivated by the power of visual expression and storytelling, and today what she loves most is to create images about the world, about humanity, and about the human condition.

Nicole Gibson is an award-winning photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She was awarded First Place in the 2010 International Photography Awards, in addition to 8 Honorable Mentions. She is also the winner of the 2008 Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence. Nicole’s work has been published in Photoshop User Magazine and B&W. Her work has also been sold to Bethany House Publishers, used by various non-profit organizations, and represented by India Picture stock agency. She is also a member of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers

Terry & Tori: Wedding

Thanks to everybody for all your compliments on Terry and Tori’s engagement shoot! The wedding was this past weekend, and it was just as much fun photographing them the second time around.

The stunning location at Tori’s family home on the edge of the desert, hearing the story of how the couple met when Tori’s dad went to meet up with some guy (Terry) to buy an ATV, and the great friends and family there… it all added up to one great wedding. Thanks Terry and Tori for letting me be part of it!

Pictures of Ourselves

 

The following is a guest blog that I recently wrote for a fellow photographer, Joe Murray and his blog, The Visual Advocate. Thanks for the opportunity to write for you, Joe.

 

When I was in college, art wasn’t my major, but I did photography in my free time and took some other art classes as well. I still distinctly remember a certain day when I showed some (I can now say, admittedly, boring) photos to professor of mine. And he looked at me and said something I’ll never forget: “Yeah, you know, these are fine, but I don’t see YOU in these photographs. It was, of course, harsh to hear at the time, but it was probably the best thing he could have said, because it has pushed me in my work ever since.

A friend recently asked me what the big questions are that I ask myself as a photographer. And two that come to mind that I’m constantly asking are, “does my work accurately reflect me, my point of view, or something I have to say?” and “does it say something meaningful for others?”

I think those are common questions that artists ask themselves – and helpful ones at that, because they push us to invest more of ourselves and create more meaningful work. There are a couple quotes that have had me thinking about this lately, and I think they’d be helpful to share here…

The first one is from Oscar Wilde and comes from his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray:

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the colored canvas, reveals himself.”

The second is from photographer and instructor at Brooks Institute, Chris Orwig. He says,

“the best and strongest pictures are those that most strongly reflect who you are.”

I think we as artists know it’s true that the best art is work that has a great deal of the artist in it. I think maybe that’s because when we put our humanity and our own selves into our work, it’s then that we create something others can relate to and resonate with.

Now, let’s be honest and say that creating work that truly communicates us as artists is something we can spend a lifetime working on. It’s definitely a constant journey for me and something that I’m always working to get better at in my own work. But it is a journey that makes me a better artist and helps me to continue growing. So for those of you who like to have some sort of takeaway, this is it. I’ll give you the question that I often ask myself, and if you so choose, you can ask yourself the same… How much of “you” is in your work? When others look at your work, will they see “you” in it?

May this challenge all of us and push us to create more honest, revealing, and meaningful work, whether we photograph foreign cultures, weddings, or landscapes.

 

Terry & Tori

 

I’m not a wedding photographer, but every now and then I photograph a wedding for a friend, and this week I had a ton of fun doing an engagement session at a nearby abandoned dairy farm.

It’s one of the original dairies in the area, now sitting along the side of the road in shambles as new suburban developments spring up all around it. A reminiscence of what the area used to be, it’s a fitting place for Terry, who grew up in a farming family himself just around the corner. He and his bride-to-be, Tori, are a blast to work with, and we had an amazing time exploring the place together. I would have stayed for hours if it hadn’t gotten dark!

Anyway, here are some photos. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

The Simple Farm

 

There is no shortage of farmer’s markets in the Phoenix area, but this week I got to visit a special one. This market is held at the farm itself, a place called The Simple Farm, right in the middle of a neighborhood and run by a community-minded couple (Michael and Lylah) and their faithful crew of volunteers.

 

 

They open their home/farm up to volunteers and visitors, and even give tours and let you hang out with their chickens and goats.

 

 

The farm has also turned into an amazing community-builder, as people from all walks of life come to the farm, interact with each other, have celebrations, and volunteer their time. I had an amazing time visiting the market, and I hope to be back again soon.

 

 

I also took the opportunity to buy some of their unique products, a delicious alfalfa honey made by local Arizona bees, and a homemade caramel sauce called Cajeta, made by hand by Lylah at the Simple Farm. I think the goat’s milk is what really puts it over the top!

 

 

If you live in the Phoenix metro area, you should definitely come check this place out. Market hours are from 9am-1pm and 4-6pm every Thursday, and volunteer hours are on Wednesday mornings. Here’s the website one more time.

 

Design for a Living World at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Photographer Ami Vitale, who I had the privilege of traveling to India with a couple years ago, recently spent nine months traveling to 11 different countries to photograph for the Design for a Living World exhibit, put on by the Nature Conservancy. The exhibit focuses on sustainable design and materials and features the work of several famous designers, including Kate Spade, Isaac Mizrahi, and Maya Lin. It also features the photographs of Ami, who photographed the cultures and landscapes involved in the project, from Alaska to Micronesia.

I got so caught up in the exhibit and in talking with Ami that I didn’t get many photographs of the evening, but you can see Ami’s Nature Conservancy photographs here. You can also see the designs featured in the exhibition and more about the project at the Design for a Living World website. Enjoy!

 

Compliments to the Chef

One of my favorite businesses run by the Uzbek community in town is their restaurant, Golden Valley. Not only is their food delicious, it’s also beautiful! I’ve been to the restaurant a few times over the past couple weeks and thought I’d share with you some photos of their gorgeous food. If you live in the area, be sure to come by and support the Uzbek community and treat yourself to some Uzbek/Mediterranean delights!

Fried chicken, available for special order

 

Rulet, whipped cream roll cake

 

Fruit plate, available for special order

 

Tarxun, central asian soda

 

Tabouleh salad

It’s Christmas for Arizona’s Refugee Women

The city of Phoenix is home to tens of thousands of (legal) refugees from war-torn countries around the world, many from Somalia, Myanmar, and Iraq. And while it’s true that families who have been resettled here have new lives of freedom and safety, they still face many struggles and financial hardships.

That’s why Redemption, a local church near many of the refugee communities, decided to join together to help refugee women in Phoenix this Christmas. They donated literally a truckload of gifts and supplies, and today I got to help deliver them.

The gifts were given to the Maricopa Women’s Refugee Health Clinic, who will then distribute everything to the right women throughout the city. It made my day to hear the ladies at the Clinic say how overwhelmed they were by the amount of gifts donated. They were in awe at the generosity of it all and couldn’t stop saying how many women would be helped.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the massive stack of gifts! You all are amazing and will be making a lot of women very happy!

 

Golden Valley Uzbek Restaurant

Last night, about 50 people gathered at the local restaurant run by our Uzbek friends to enjoy some amazing food and to hear the story of what brought these guys to the U.S. and what they’re busy doing here now. It was a fantastic evening. Thank you to everyone who worked to make it happen, and a special thank you to our wonderful Uzbek hosts!

 

Buddhist Prayer Flags

In Buddhist tradition, prayer flags are hung outside homes, sacred spaces, and especially from high places. Flags are inscribed with prayers, mantras, and auspicious symbols, and it is said that as the wind blows through them, peace, compassion, and blessings are carried throughout the land to all those in the vicinity.

As I traveled through a Buddhist area of India a couple years ago, I spent quite a bit of time photographing the prayer flags. These are some images from that trip that I recently came across and have never shown before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denver Art Museum

A couple weeks ago I was in Denver and had the chance to visit the Denver Art Museum. It houses an incredible collection of art from a widely diverse range of cultures and eras. The building, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, is also a work of art in itself, and I think I had just as much fun photographing as I did actually looking at art! Here are some shots for you, just for fun…